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Basic HTML Formatting Guidelines

This help page is a basic introduction to modifying your title in HTML. Once you've converted your content and uploaded your book using Kindle Direct Publishing, you may want to make changes. If you have basic HTML knowledge, you can modify the converted HTML file to refine your formatting and layout. We recommend that you proceed only if familiar with using HTML tags.

KDP compresses your converted content into a .zip file which contains an HTML file of your text content, as well as any included images. You can download the .zip file, edit the HTML file, then re-zip and re-upload the content. Make sure all your content (including images) is in a single folder in the zip file, without any sub-folders.

Steps to export HTML from KDP

1. From the Bookshelf, click the "Actions" dropdown menu next to the title you wish to modify.
2. Select 'Edit book details' in the menu.
3. Scroll down to the Book Content section and click 'Preview Book.'
4. Click 'Download HTML.'
5. Choose a location on your hard drive to which to save the .zip file, then click 'Save.'
6. Unzip the .ZIP file
7. Navigate to the location where you saved the downloaded .zip file above.
8. Open the .zip file and save your HTML file to your hard drive.
9. Open and edit the HTML file with the HTML editor of your choice (e.g., Notepad).
10. Continue to Text Guidelines.

Text Guidelines

Text guideline #1: Normal Text
The "normal" text in a Kindle book must be all defaults. We encourage content creators to use creative styles for headings, special paragraphs, footnotes, tables of contents and so on but not "normal" text. The reason is that any styling on "normal" text in the HTML would override the user's preferred default reading settings. Users tend to report such behavior as a poor experience. Here are the most important points:
  • "Normal" text must not have a forced alignment (left aligned or justified). "Normal" text must not have a forced line-height attribute, either.
  • "Normal" text must use the default font family. The font face="…" tag is ignored on the Kindle platform but even so, make sure it is not used on "normal" text. The same applies to the CSSfont-family style.
  • "Normal" text must use the default font size. The font size="…" tag or its equivalent in CSS should not be used in "normal" text. "Normal" text should not be bold or italicized. Selected parts can of course use such styling. This guideline only prohibits book that would be entirely bold, for example.
  • "Normal" text should not have an imposed font color or background color.

Text guideline #2: Page Breaks
Blank lines of text should not be inserted to create empty pages. Use the page break tag 'mbp:pagebreak/'. This is especially true for documents generated from Microsoft Word; you should use the "Page Break" feature of Word.

Text guideline #3: Line Breaks and Spacing
Create line breaks using the <br> (break) tag, not the <p> (paragraph) tag.
Text guideline #4: Paragraph Formatting
The First line of every paragraph is automatically indented. This behavior can be changed using the text-indent style on the 'p' tag. For example:
o p style="text-indent:0" - no indentation of the first line
o p style="text-indent:10%" - positive indent, 10% of the width of the page
o p style="text-indent:5em" - positive indent, 5 em
o p style="text-indent:-10pt" - negative indent, 10 pt
o p style="text-indent:-10" - negative indent, 10 pixels ; The space before each paragraph can be changed using the "margin-top" style on tag p.
Background color cannot be set on text.
Borders cannot be added to paragraphs.

Raised Initial
To make the first letter in a paragraph larger than the text that follows, use the font tag with the "size" attribute and specify a larger font size for the first letter.
For example: Once upon a time...

At this time, Amazon KDP doesn't support margins set inside CSS/HTML (such as topmargin, leftmargin etc. set in px values). You can use the CSS margin attribute for positive values and percentage values (as opposed to hard-coded values), but depending on your text format, this might not translate properly. Note: You can set only the left, top, and bottom margins this way, never the right margin.

Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) must be contained in a dedicated CSS file, which is separate from your HTML content. Use a tag to link the CSS file to an HTML file.
For example:
link rel="stylesheet" type="text/css" href="theme.css"
All HTML and CSS files must be compressed into a single .zip file before uploading.

Text guideline #5: No Page Numbers
Kindle books are reflowable and can be viewed with different font sizes, so page numbers do not apply.
There should not be any reference to page numbers in the book. The cross references should not have page numbers, nor should there be any plain text index with page numbers.

Image guidelines

Image guideline #1: Supported Input Formats
The Kindle platform supports GIF, BMP, JPEG, and non-transparent PNG images in your content. Kindle does not support vector graphics. You will have to convert your vector graphics into raster graphics using one of the supported image formats.

If you are using images for schemas, charts, tables, maps or anything that includes text, you must pay special attention to the legibility of the final image.
Images are added to the source using standard HTML
Example: < img src="image name.gif" />

If you want the image to fit the reader's screen size, add height="100%" to your <img> tag:
Example: < img src="image name.gif" height="100%" />

Check Formatting Images Within Your Kindle Book for more details.

Image guideline #2: Automatic Image Conversions
The maximum size of a MOBI file is 650 MB. Once you upload your source file on KDP, KindleGen performs automatic image conversions to optimize the content for Kindle. Optimize your images to the highest quality possible within the file size limit before inputting your files into KindleGen.

Image guideline #3: Color
Use color images whenever possible and relevant. The Kindle reading device has a black and white screen today but Kindle applications for other devices, such as iPhone or PC, take advantage of colors.

Image guideline #4: Photographs
Photographs should use the JPEG format with a quality factor of 40 or higher. Photographs should be provided with the highest resolution available to you.

Photographs should not be too small. Please make sure your input photos are at least 600x800 pixels in size, unless you optimize them yourself according to the previous guideline. Photographs of less than 300x400 pixels are much too small and can be rejected.

If your photographs are in GIF format or are too small, simply converting them to JPEG or artificially increasing their size will not improve their quality. You should go back to the original source to create a JPEG image with sufficient resolution.

Steps to reupload your HTML Book Content to KDP

1. Copy your edited HTML file back into the .zip file you downloaded above. Make sure all the images and HTML files are in a single folder, without any content in sub-folders.
2. From the 'Bookshelf', select the 'Actions' drop-down menu next to the title you modified.
3. Select 'Edit book details' in the menu.
4. Scroll down to the Book Content section and click 'Browse for Book.'
5. Browse to the downloaded .zip file, which now contains your modified HTML file.
6. Click 'Upload Book.'
7. Click 'Save and Continue.'

For additional information on formatting with HTML, search the Web for "HTML tutorial" or "HTML how-to."

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